Watch: How to Dance Your Way Through a New York City Commute
Survival at its fittest
Last fall we teamed up with Esprit and asked what perfect means to you — we got a resounding “perfect is imperfect!” particularly when it comes to self-expression, which is precisely the point. This Spring, as Esprit applies its #ImPerfect ethos to freestyle dance, we asked choreographer Luam to show us how she moves through the obstacle course that is New York.
To schlep: it means to haul ass, and although it’s not printed in the dictionary (neither is the word “ass”), there’s an assumed asterisks following the definition with an accompanying addendum that states:
*typically in New York City.
Rare is the person who drives their own car in this town. It’s all subways and walking with your life in your arms: groceries, air conditioners, extra clothing, cans of paint. Errands are on foot. Crossing town takes place on buses. Anyone who hails a cab on the regular would likely argue that they’re schlepping, too — you can’t use the cup holder in a taxi! You can’t explode your purse into the passenger seat of an Uber! Oh no. Unless you’re the worst, you sit with your crap strapped to lap and bemoan to yourself that you’re never not schlepping.
But there is pride when you realize that you’ve figured it out, that you’ve mastered the art of the far from perfect mass transit commute. Once you settle into a routine, the schlep becomes a badge of honor. Something you could do with your eyes closed. It’s not just second nature — it is nature. This is Darwinism at its finest, and you’ve survived.
However, it helps to have a bit of a guide. The video above is intended as just that: a series of dance moves (think of them as freestyle suggestions — you’ll note there’s no foot count) that will carry you through the most annoying parts of a typical schlep.
Think of dodging bodies and playing chicken on busy crosswalks as your warm-up.
Don’t just scoff at stagnant corner puddles that may or may not have sewer dragons in them; point your toes and leap over them!
Shuffle sideways down subway stairs then wobble while you wait; glide through the turnstile; catch wind in your hair upon exit. If you get lost, pause in an ally for a vogue break.
Boogie in a bodega, hang ten on a car’s hood.
Don’t just jay walk, put some back into it.
If you’re waiting, break it down like no one’s looking.
On that awkward elevator ride? Do a quiet jive.
And if you show up to your destination late by five only to find that you got the date or time wrong, well…
Guys, I said watch the video! I’m not ruining the ending.
In partnership with Esprit #ImPerfect #Esprit Special thanks to Choreographer Luam and Dancers Jovanni Soto and Miki Michelle; Jay Buim, Director; Kyle Repka, Director of Photography; Rick Cook, Camera Assistant; Charlotte Fassler, Associate Producer; Ben Schwartz, Colorist; Nicholas “Quazzy” Alexander, Sound Design; IW Agency and Iyana Winfield, Makeup.